Night Sky in the Outback

A 4-hour nighttime exposure of the southern sky at Bea Creek camp, just east of Tom Price, in Western Australia. Set the camera up, clicked the button, and went to bed.


It appears as if all of the stars in the night sky are rotating around. In actuality, it is the Earth which is rotating underneath the stars. But since my camera is fixed to Earth, we get the illusion of celestial rotation. Since the stars made about 1/6 of a circle in the sky, the exposure lasted 1/6 x 24 hours = 4 hours. The shutter stayed open until the batteries gave out.


The color and capturing the Southern Celestial Pole in the sky (the spot around which all of the stars seem to be rotating) were beautiful surprises. If you look carefully, you can spot the Southern Cross (Crux) just above the treeline.


The Southern Cross is one of the most recognizable constellations in the southern hemisphere. You'll find it on the flags of Australia and New Zealand. In the picture, the Southern Cross is on its side. The top of the cross is at about 4 o'clock, while the bottom is at about 10 o'clock. Click here for the marked up photo and a short astronomy lesson.


This guy also has a pretty good diagram.

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Taken on October 31, 2007